More jobs in April, but job quality declines

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The labor data in April was a mixed bag as unemployment eased during the period, but those wanting more work increased.

Preliminary results of the April 2018 round of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Labor Force Survey (LFS) put the country’s unemployment rate at 5.5%, down from the 5.7% recorded in the same period last year. This was equivalent to 2.36 million jobless Filipinos, down from 2.443 million in April 2017.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate – the proportion of those already working, but still looking for more work or longer working hours – worsened, posting 17% or 6.94 million workers from 16.1%, equivalent to 6.46 million workers.

The country’s labor force participation rate stood at 60.9%, down from last year’s 61.4%.

By industry, the employment rate in the service sector, which made up a chunk of the employed population, increased to 56.4% from 55.4% in the same period last year.

Employment in the Industry sector likewise improved to 19.7% from 18.,5%

On the other hand, employment in agriculture fell to 23.9% from 26.1%.

Full-time workers – or those who worked for 40 hours or more in a week accounted for 68% of the employed, up from the 60.8% in the past year. Meanwhile, part-time workers – those who worked for less than 40 hours in a week make up 31%, down from 37.8%.

During the period, the working hours per week averaged 42 hours, up from 40.3 hours a year ago. — Christine Joyce S. Castañeda